Commissary: Shopping limits placed on fresh beef, poultry, pork

FORT LEE, Va. – Commissaries in the continental United States, along with Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, have now placed shopping limits on fresh beef, poultry and pork.

The Defense Commissary Agency implemented these shopping limits in response to anticipated shortages in the supply chain impacted by the closures of various U.S. beef/pork/poultry processing plants, said retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, Department of Defense special assistant for commissary operations.

“There may be some shortages of fresh protein products in the coming weeks,” Bianchi said. “Enacting this policy now will help ensure that all of our customers have an opportunity to purchase these products on an equitable basis.”

The shopping limits are as follows:

• Fresh beef – two items

• Fresh pork – two items

• Fresh chicken – two items

• Fresh turkey – two items

There will be some exceptions to the two-item limits, however. In the event the limits are not in line with a store’s supply, the store can increase or decrease as needed. For example, if a store is extremely short on product, it might go to a limit of one per type, or if it has a lot of supply building up, it may extend the limits on some items.

DeCA will post quantity limits at each of its affected locations similar to how it has been posting limits for toilet paper, sanitizers, canned food items and other high-demand items.

Placing shopping limits on fresh meat will particularly keep commissaries that don’t receive daily meat deliveries from having their meat inventory wiped out because of panic buying, Bianchi said. These limits will be removed once supply chain operations return to normal.

To date, DeCA has enough quantities on hand in its pipeline to overseas commissaries to avoid any limits for these stores, Bianchi said.

“Our overseas supply chain remains strong,” he said. “In addition, we continue to prioritize quantities for our overseas shipments, so we should be able to support the demand. If we experience any unexpected major hiccups in the pipeline, we will look at expanding shopping limits to other locations.”

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus caused a significant spike in customers shopping for essential items. On March 14, the agency enacted a directive instructing its store directors worldwide to use their discretion in placing shopping limits necessary to help maintain stock availability.

The shopping directive gave store directors more authority to quickly tailor shopping limits, as required, to keep more products available for more customers.

From the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, commissaries overseas – starting with stores in Italy, South Korea and Japan – instituted shopping limits on items such as hand sanitizers, disinfectants and toilet paper.

“We know this is a potentially stressful time for all concerned,” Bianchi said. “But together we will meet these challenges and support our service members and their families throughout the duration of this crisis wherever necessary.

“We always recommend to our customers that they purchase what they need and avoid any panic buying to ensure products are available for others in their communities.”

About the Author